\ News \ SCION research visit helps to strengthen national collaborative efforts in Ireland

SCION research visit helps to strengthen national collaborative efforts in Ireland

19 May 2023 15:00

The on-going work of the wider DeMANS project was further enhanced through a recent visit of Dr Hilary Corkran from SCION to the research teams at TCD.

Dr Corkran presented work on the Bark Biorefinery Project, led by SCION, as part of the day's activities.

Although not formally part of the secondment programme, Hilary was in in Europe and took the opportunity to visit TCD. The visit was also an opportunity to promote closer links and collaborations between forestry-related projects within Ireland, specifically with the NXTGENWOOD Programme.

NXTGENWOOD is a is an Irish research programme and network for delivery of next generation wood products and increased economic return for Irish wood products. Funded by the Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the project involves researchers from five Irish universities, three Science Foundation Ireland Research Centres and more than a dozen industry partners. A key focus of NXTGENWOOD is researching innovation from forest to factory.

This ambition links well with SCION research as part of the Bark Biorefinery Project. This SCION-led activity is using green-chemistry methods to extract and refine the array of chemicals found in bark. Around 2.4 million tonnes of bark are available every year and this will increase as more logs are debarked for export. Hilary is one of the Research Scientist on the project.

By linking DeMANS, NXTGENWOOD and the Bark Biorefinery Project, it was possible to have multiple researchers from many diverse groups come together to pool knowledge and resources, and look at possible next steps for future collaborations.

During the day-long event, TCD-based secondees shared their recent experiences from their secondments at both the University of Wollongong and SCION, which also helped to highlight the opportunities for further collaboration. It was also an opportunity for PhD candidates involved in NXTGENWOOD to update the wider community on their work. Hilary also presented a comprehensive overview of the Bark Biorefinery Project.

Dr Corkran (third from left) with staff and researchers from TCD

In the afternoon, there were tours of AMBER and CRANN facilities in both the Naughton Institute and the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Centre, including a visit to the Advance Microscopy Laboratory and the Additive Research Laboratory. These visits also provided our more junior researchers the opportunity to highlight their laboratory-based work, an activity that we hope will build their confidence in their presentation skills and abilities.

The whole team at TCD is looking forward to being able to build on these next interlinkages and use DeMANS as a springboard to forge new links and collaborations, both nationally and internationally.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101007584.

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